Thursday, December 9, 2021

Advent Words Day 12 ~ People


Day 12: People

“…and to purify for himself a people that are his very own...” Titus 2:14

We have seen over the past few days that the future gaze of Advent is our hope in “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”. We have seen that His sacrifice is to serve as motivation to live our lives for Christ in this present age, for Paul gives us two reasons that Christ “gave himself for us”.

·        1.“To redeem us from all wickedness.”

·        2.“And to purify for himself a people that are his very own.”

There is a purpose for our being purified (made holy). From beginning to end, the Bible is clear that God desires a people who will be associated with His purpose and promises. A people who are His own, His chosen and holy people, a people who know and enjoy God as their One and Only God.

“I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.” Exodus 6:7

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 7:6

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
    after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
    and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33

“I will be their God and they will be my people” is the language of God’s covenant. He promises to be our holy God and we promise to be His holy people – a people who live by His ways, who live to please Him.

We see that same covenant language in the New Testament as well.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10

There is an individual component to being the people of God, as each one of us must choose to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior to be counted among God’s holy people. But God’s call here, as in the Old Testament, is that we would collectively be His holy people, to be His Church.

A few verses prior to the above passage in 2 Peter, it says, “As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men, but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a royal priesthood, offering sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’” 1 Peter 2:4-6.

Peter then goes on in 2 :9-10, “you (also) are a chosen people…”. Just as Christ is chosen as the living Stone, the one risen from the dead, we who believe in Christ are chosen to be God’s holy people. My pastor likes to say, “When you come into a relationship with Christ, you come into the church as well.” The two go hand-in-hand. We belong to Christ, and we belong to the church, and we belong to each other. Together we form the spiritual house of God, His temple. The church is not a building we go to, but the people of God, the body of Christ. It’s important that we who are Christ’s followers, be an active part of a local church in order to be encouraged and built up by our pastors and fellow Christ followers, but also to use our gifts and talents to help be the church in our community. The word “you” in 1 Peter 2:9 is plural in the Greek. Peter is speaking to and of God’s people collectively. In fact, many times in the Epistles when the word “you” is used it is plural. The Epistles were letters written to churches. We have a tendency to read these Epistles as more a letter written to an individual, and there are passages about who we are as individuals and how we are each called to live. But it is also important to know when a command or calling is made to God’s people collectively, as this helps us understand the role we have in living together as a church, as God’s holy people. A few other examples of passages written with plural “you”: Ephesians 2:19-22, 1 Corinthians 3:16, Matthew 5:14. We cannot discount that we must follow the commands in the Epistles individually, but we must also not discount the intent that we collectively make up God’s holy people, and therefore, must play our part to be God’s holy people, for we belong to Him.

We are His very own purified people, the chosen, holy, treasured people of God!

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